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A Message from the Retail Design Institute Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Council

The following message is from the newly formed Retail Design Institute Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Council.

To our members throughout the retail design community

The recent deaths of Rayshard Brooks, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery amongst others have brought sharp focus to the history of inequality and systemic racism entrenched within American culture. The Retail Design Institute (the Institute) firmly supports the effort of empowering organizations. We stand in solidarity with our Black members, our Black colleagues, and Black people within our industry. We support the efforts taking place around the world to bring about much needed social change. We believe Black Lives Matter.

The Institute further charges our members and our industry have an important role in promoting equality through designing, building and merchandising selling environments that are safe, inclusive and accessible to all.

We recognize that we cannot change the Institute without taking intentional steps to listen more closely to our members of color; to continue to diversify our membership and leadership and to challenge ourselves to consider how diverse voices can better inform our design practices. We can do much more than we have done previously to bring anti-bias and anti-racist design to the forefront of our projects, programs, products and services.

The Institute has therefore established the Retail Design Institute Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Council, whose founding members span our Chapters with a goal to create a cohesive effort in guiding the Institute while including local voices and perspectives. These goals are organized around the following three pillars:


  • Demonstrating diversity throughout the Institute through racially diverse membership and leadership.

  • Identifying and eliminating barriers to membership in the Institute that impact racially diverse individuals in the discipline of retail design.


  • Celebrating and amplifying the work and viewpoints of retail design professionals, organizations, businesses, and communities that have been suppressed on the basis of race.

  • Identifying, partnering with and learning from other organizations specializing in the education, mentorship, recruitment, and career advancement of racially diverse individuals within the discipline of retail design.


  • Develop resources for Institute’s Board and local Chapter leadership to engage with their own communities and localize efforts to affect change supporting diverse workforces.

  • Ensure that the Institute’s Mission, Charter and By-laws are amended to align with these goals.

We ask our membership to join us and hold the Institute accountable to ensure that our deeds match our words. The Council is committed to increasing our intentional support for our black members, colleagues, and professionals throughout our industry. We honor their wisdom and will listen to them, learning, unlearning, growing and responding.

If you’d like to volunteer to support the Institute in our goals, either as an individual or as a member of an aligned organization, reach out to Chapter leadership to get in touch with a member of the Council.


The Retail Design Institute Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Council

ANDREW LEE RDI, Assoc. AIA, New York Chapter AMANDA JOHNSON RDI, New England Chapter CARLA WELLS RDI, New York Chapter LENA LIM, New York Chapter MICHAEL MUTO, Pacific Northwest Chapter MICHAEL TRENARY, Pacific Northwest Chapter TARA LIONG, Pacific Northwest Chapter

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